Toppers Start Tourney Unbeaten

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After a big 8-0 win in their home opener on Wednesday over the Taylorville Tornadoes, the Hillsboro High School boys soccer team traveled to Carlinville on Aug. 31, for opening round action of the annual Carlinville Kickoff Classic, a staple of the early season soccer scene for area teams. 

For the Toppers, the Classic has been a mixed bag of sorts, with past teams struggling the first day then finishing the tourney strong, and then others lighting the world on fire on the opening Saturday only to limp towards the finish line. 

On this Saturday, however, the orange and black showed steady play and steady resilience picking up a 1-0 victory in the early game against Metro-East Lutheran and bringing home a 1-1 draw against Springfield Lutheran in the afternoon tilt.

In the first game against Metro-East, Hillsboro showed flashes of brilliance on offense as they were patient with the ball and focused on maintaining possession and manufacturing good looks on the net. This, coupled with a more spread offensive attack, allowed the Toppers to move the ball on the Knights, especially in the center of the field.

Early in the first, senior midfielder Joe Mattson would control the ball just outside the 18 yard box and put a rocket shot on net that fooled the Metro-East keeper giving Hillsboro to 1-0 lead. 

That lead would stand until the half, even though the Toppers would have chances, including hitting a post and sending two balls over the crossbar down the stretch in the frame.

The second half would be much of the same as Hillsboro would have several chances but nothing ever would materialize. Fortunately, a staunch Topper back line, anchored by seniors Tyler Watson and Jake Holcomb as well as sophomores Ayden Brewer and Devin Speiser, would make the lone tally stand, bringing home the 1-0 victory.

In the second game it would be much of the same as good movement on the part of the Toppers allowed them several good looks on net and several chances. 

Hillsboro would nearly break through just two minutes into the contest as senior midfielder Dalton Greenwood controlled the ball at midfield and connected with fellow senior Josh Bauman up the middle. Bauman would find himself on a bit of a breakaway and get the shot off but his shot would sail just over and out of play. 

This would be a bit of a trend early as Hillsboro would have chances but send the ball wide or over no less than four times in the first 20 minutes of the first half.

Things began to get chippy in the last ten minutes of the first half as a couple of no-calls led to tempers flaring a bit and some more aggressive play on the part of both teams. 

Fortunately for the Toppers, the temper fueled the fire and Greenwood took a ball from the corner of the 18 yard box and found the back of the net to give Hillsboro the 1-0 lead.

When play resumed in the second, it was exactly the same as the first with chance after chance for the Toppers starting with Bauman sending one over, then sophomore Ethan Lentz sending one on frame and the Springfield Lutheran keeper making a diving save. At the other end, sophomore keeper Matt Page was just as steady, keeping the Crusaders honest.

Then, with two minutes left in the game, disaster would strike for Hillsboro as Lentz was whistled for a high kick, giving Lutheran a free indirect kick just outside the 18. The ensuing shot would fool Page and find its way just inside the left post to knot the score at 1-1 and that’s how it would end.

With the victory and the tie, the Toppers come away with four points (one for the tie and three for the win) in pool play. Pool play resumes this afternoon as the Toppers face off against the host Cavaliers at 6 p.m.

August 31 at Carlinville

Carlinville Kickoff Classic

Hillsboro 1 0 - 1

Metro-East Luth. 0 0 - 0

Goals: Hillsboro - Joe Mattson 1.

August 31 at Carlinville

Carlinville Kickoff Classic

Hillsboro 1 0 - 1

Spfld Lutheran 0 1 - 1

Goals: Hillsboro - Dalton Greenwod 1.

Record: Hillsboro (2-1-1).

Carlinville Kickoff Classic

August 30-September 5

Pool A: Springfield Lutheran (2-0-1), Hillsboro (1-0-1), Carlinville (1-1-1),Metro-East Lutheran (0-1-1),  Athens (0-2).

Pool B: Jersey (2-0), Gillespie (1-0-1), Lincolnwood (1-1-1), East Alton-Wood River (1-1), Staunton (0-3).

Friday, August 30

Lincolnwood 1, Staunton 0

Springfield Lutheran 2, Carlinville 0

Saturday, August 31

Lincolnwood 2, Gillespie 2

Hillsboro 1, Metro-East Lutheran 0

Carlinville 1, Athens 0

East Alton-Wood River 3, Staunton 2

Jersey 8, Lincolnwood 0

Hillsboro 1, Springfield Lutheran 1

Metro-East Lutheran 1, Carlinville 1

Gillespie 2, Staunton 1

Springfield Lutheran 1, Athens 0

Jersey 4, East Alton-Wood River 0

Tuesday, September 3

4:30 p.m. - Metro-East Lutheran vs. Athens

4:30 p.m. - Gillespie vs. East Alton-Wood River

6 p.m. - Hillsboro vs. Carlinville

6 p.m. - Staunton vs. Jersey

Wednesday, September 4

4:30 p.m. - East Alton-Wood River vs. Lincolnwood

4:30 p.m. - Athens vs. Hillsboro

6 p.m. - Metro-East Lutheran vs. Springfield Lutheran

6 p.m. - Jersey vs. Gillespie

Thursday September 5

4:15 p.m. - 9th Place - #5 Pool A vs. #5 Pool B

4:15 p.m. - 5th Place - #3 Pool A vs. #3 Pool B

5:45 p.m. - 7th Place - #4 Pool A vs. #4 Pool B

5:45 p.m. - 3rd Place - #2 Pool A vs. #2 Pool B

7:15 p.m. - 1st Place - #1 Pool A vs. #1 Pool B

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